Big Bill Backward’s True-Faced Western Tales, 11: Diving for Pearl-Fisher Persons

Recall when I wuz divin fer pearl-fisher persons we used ta find six, seven at a time, each loaded with so many pearls they near drownded.

We found folks lyin on the ocean floor with their heads stuck in giant oyster shells, folks with pearls where their eyes shoulda been…


One guy got his head inside a huge pearl n he wuz kinda livin in there: said he wuz breathin ‘Atlantis air’, n he had found the ‘true grit’.


We’d pull em up n they’d come round n cough up weed n their eyes’d roll n they’d yell ‘I’m a Pearly King!’ (or queen) n dive right back in.


Those we dragged back to land, we found pearls in their bellies, pearls in their veins, n they allus wanted pearls dissolved in their wine.


Every full moon yuh hud to tie them down with silken scarves or they’d be flingin themselves in seas, lakes, swimmin pools, or just puddles.


Used ta ask em what they saw in them pearls: ‘Clouds of oysters, pulsin n singin n chewin – skies of milk n skin goin on forever n ever…’


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